1000s expected at historic anti-cuts conf in London Press TV Thousands of British anti-cuts supporters will descend on London today to mark the launch of coordinated actions against the government’s austerity measures nationwide. The national mobilization by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity and backed by …
|Union’s roadshow exposes how Con-Dem cuts have affected lives of ordinary … Scottish Daily Record The Austerity Uncovered tour, which hit Glasgow yesterday, will take in all the main cities in Scotland, culminating in the Anti-Bedroom Tax Conference in Edinburgh on June 29. Yesterday, as the battle bus – organised by the Scottish TUC – rolled from one|
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said anti-union laws should not get in the way of strikes against austerity. The UK’s biggest union earlier released results of a survey suggesting many people have employment or money worries and want the …
Thousands will descend on London today for the People’s Assembly Against Austerity to launch a united opposition that will mobilise co-ordinated anti-cuts action at national, regional and local level.
The event is Britain’s largest political conference in recent history – outstripping the combined attendance of the annual conferences of all three main political parties – and is backed by Britain’s major unions.
The assembly will give a voice to the millions of people who oppose failed coalition government policies which are wrecking the economy, forcing down wages and decimating public services.
The assembly has been hailed as a big breakthrough in creating a united front against the Tories and their Lib Dem accomplices.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “The People’s Assembly is the most significant step yet in building a nationwide opposition to the government’s policies of social devastation.
“Unite is proud to stand with all those demanding an end to the cuts which are pushing millions into the abyss of despair and in standing up for an alternative of social justice.”
The People’s Assembly has been endorsed by over 100 organisations including Unison and Unite, which between them represent almost three million workers across the public and private sectors.
It is also backed by thousands of individuals and groups, including academics, pensioners’ organisations and campaigners fighting to save the NHS.
Green MP Caroline Lucas, who is speaking at the assembly, said: “It offers a crucial opportunity for civil society to come together and take a stand against this government’s socially destructive and economically illiterate austerity programme.
“It is also a chance to challenge the harmful ideology which claims that public is ‘bad’ and private is ‘good’ and that everything from our health service to education is little more than a marketplace to be exploited for profit.”
With evidence emerging that austerity, pay freezes, tax rises and welfare cuts will drive seven million children into poverty in the next two years, she said: “It’s time to expose the lie that there is no alternative to austerity.”
The assembly will also launch two “People United” bus tours organised by unions Unite, Unison, GMB, PCS and CWU and the TUC to take the campaign against austerity into communities.
The tours culminate on July 5 at the NHS’s birthplace, Trafford General Hospital in Manchester, to celebrate the 65th anniversary of its foundation.
Ministers are fond of telling us that we are 80 percent through the dark austerity forest. Soon, maybe within a couple of years, we will enter into the light where all will be well and normal fiscal policy can be resumed. Just one more push and austerity will be no more. Should we put a lot of faith in this? I would recommend caution – extreme caution.
The Government has published a long-term scenario – stretching out to 2019. This builds on the projections up to 2016 in the recent Stability Programme Update. The Government is at pains to state that this is an illustration:
‘Again it must be stressed that this is purely an illustrative scenario.’
They even underlined it. Yet, it is consistent with the Government’s SPU projections and it is certainly consistent with reports of a new plan being developed by the Minister for Finance.
‘The State’s anticipated exit from the bailout this year will not mean a relaxing of austerity targets as Mr Noonan hopes Government will approve a fresh regime with firm timelines similar to the EU-IMF-ECB programme.’
Minister Richard Bruton was also giving a warning
‘Mr Bruton rejected the accusation that the public had expected the end of the bailout term would signal an easing of austerity by saying no “crock of gold” was available to the Government.’
Mr Bruton suggested that this situation would continue for some time.
So it is worthwhile to look at the Government’s ‘purely illustrative scenario’ as there is a very good chance it will morph into the ‘only scenario’ (TINA will become TIOOS – There is Only One Scenario). Let’s look at primary public expenditure – that is, public expenditure excluding interest. This identifies how much money will be spent on public services, social protection and investment. I have used ‘real’ expenditure – that is, expenditure after inflation using the GDP deflator (the economy wide inflation indicator).
As seen, primary expenditure is expected to fall by nearly 9 percent over the next two years. From 2015 on, primary spending still continues to fall – by 2.6 percent in real terms up to 2019 despite the Government pencilling in GDP growth of approximately 12 percent during this same period.
But it gets worse. In many areas public spending will rise automatically due to demographic pressures. For instance, the number of pensioners will increase so that even if pension payments remain frozen, expenditure will rise. We should also allow for a rise in demand on health services with this aging demographic. And in education, we will have to spend more just to accommodate the continuing rise in our student numbers.
In other words, we will have to spend more on pensions, health and education just to stand still. When this is factored in, there will need to be additional cuts in other expenditure – in other public services, social protection programmes and investment projects.
We are heading into a period of semi-permanent austerity. Why, if by 2015 we have reached the Maastricht target and when employment and economic growth will continue to reduce deficit and debt levels? The Government gives two clues. First:
‘Ireland is on track to correct its excessive deficit by 2015. Thereafter, the public finances in Ireland will no longer be subject to the corrective arm of the Stability and Growth Pact (i.e. the Maastricht guidelines) but subject to the requirements of the preventive arm and the Treaty on Stability, Co-ordination and Governance (the ‘fiscal compact’).’
Ah, the Fiscal Treaty; remember those debates – how Government ministers insisted that compliance with the pact would not necessitate further austerity? We climb one hill only to find there are more hills to climb.
Second, the Government seems determined to drive the budget balance down to zero and then into surplus. In other words, we will be taking in more money than we are spending by 2019. Now there’s nothing wrong with a balanced budget at the appropriate time. But the Government’s scenario estimates (and to be clear, this is not a projection) that unemployment will be 11 percent. How could anyone imagine any scenario where you run a budget surplus with double-digit unemployment?
Is a balanced budget necessary to reduce debt per the fiscal treaty? No – this is an issue we will revisit in a subsequent post.
This is the future that some Government Ministers are planning. After destroying our social and economic infrastructure with irrational austerity policies, what is next? Continuing austerity amidst the ruins.
That’s the current scenario – unless we work for something different; different than what has happened in the past, and different than what is being planned for us in the future.
|Spaniards hold anti–austerity demos
Deteriorating economic situation in Europe has created growing discontent among the European public, with many nations across the continent grappling with teetering economies. The European financial crisis began in early 2008. Insolvency now threatens …
Austerity kills is the message of a study published by the ‘British Medical Journal’
Austerity measures could mean the dismantling of a large part of the Spanish health system and significantly damage the health of the population, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal on Thursday.
The authors of the report warn that if the trend does not change, there is a risk that Spain will experience a spiral of health problems that could mean an increase in infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV.
One part of the research consisted of interviewing 34 doctors and nurses in Catalonia. The majority said they felt “shocked, numbed and disillusioned” about the cuts, and some expressed fears that the austerity measures would “kill people,” the researchers said.
The report highlighted that healthcare and social services cuts of almost 14 percent at the national level and of 10 percent at the regional level in 2012 had coincided with an increase in demand for care, especially on the part of senior citizens, the disabled and the mentally ill.
Researchers also identified an increase in cases of depression, alcoholism-related diseases and suicides in Spain since the crisis began.
“If no corrective measures are implemented, this could worsen with the risk of increases in HIV and tuberculosis, as we have seen in Greece, where healthcare services have had severe cuts, as well as the risk of a rise in drug resistance and spread of disease,” said Helena Legido-Quigley, a lecturer in global health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, who worked on the study.
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to address the Dail Joint Committee on European Affairs. The topic of the discussion was on the future shape of the European Union and Ireland’s relationship with it.
In the three videos below you will see firstly my presentation to the
, along with a slides, where I outline that what is happening in the European Union is the growth of authoritarian neoliberalism, and that the future direction is one of a less democratic union of fiscal austerity.
The euro zone has registered yet another record high unemployment rate of 12.2%, European statistics agency Eurostat reports on Friday.
Earlier in the day, Italy, the third-largest economy in the currency bloc, reported a first quarter jobless rate of 12.8%, the highest in the 36 years this data has been collected, Meanwhile youth unemployment rose to a staggering 40.5%, also an all-time record high, reports Il Sole 24 Ore.
Here is a breakdown of the alarming numbers:
-More than 26 million people unemployed in the 27-member European Union.
-More than 19 million unemployed in the 17-country euro zone.
-Euro zone average: 12.2%
-European Union average: 11%
Greece: 27% in February 2013
In comparison, the United States was 7.5% down from 7.6% in the previous month and 8.1% in April 2012.
-Euro zone youth unemployment: 24.4% up from 24.2% in January 2013.
-European Union under-25 unemployment: 23.5% down from 23.6% in January 2013.
Euro area inflation expected to be on the rise:
BARCELONA – Spain – What would Picasso have thought about the euro? Maybe what is going to transpire soon in the country of bullfighting tapas eating Spaniards will be reminiscent of Picasso’s greatest piece Guernica.
“If you are a British expat, get your money out yesterday, if you are Spanish, get your money out sooner than yesterday, if you have a property in Spain, try and sell it, although I’m afraid you may be mierda out of luck with that idea, how can you sell something that is pretty much worthless now and will be even more worthless soon when the debt maelstrom hits?” an insider from the Spanish Finance Ministry told a Spanish business journal.
What happened in Cyprus is destined to happen in Spain soon therefore it seems the wheel of misfortune turns its weary cycle over the troublesome euro waters daily, churning away leaving frothing sewage water in its cumbersome wake.
As the Eurogroup President, Jeroen Dijsselbloem said, that “if necessary the uninsured deposit holders” will be gored by the bull’s horns and thus there is the rub, there is no chivalry left in Espana as Don Quixote has been kicked firmly in the cojones by his trusty squire’s donkey; Picasso would surely have crafted a diabolical sculpture of a deformed woman to represent the broken euro and Salvador Dali would have simply shat in a purple bucket standing on top of a lobster, as for Gaudi, his representation of the euro would be a pile of ceramic rubble.
“Spain is the big one for the euro. When Spain’s banks need to be recapitalised again, you can simply kiss your bank deposit goodbye. Especially with Spain’s unemployment currently at 26.7% things are definitely not getting better for people. There may very well be real bloodshed when the country’s economy collapses completely under its soon to be massive 110% gross debt of GDP,” an economist said from the UK.
The Spanish central bank was last year seized 39 167 homes. In 32,490 of them involved the permanent home services. The rest are holiday homes and homes for rent. It is estimated that since the beginning of the crisis in 2008, some 400,000 homes in Spain were seized. Taken Suicide and protests in Spain have been large demonstrations against the controversial evictions. According to media reports, several people who were put out of the house, committed suicide.
Three things all serious people know are true
This post was written by Kevin O’Rourke
A holy trinity — or perhaps a troika? — of beliefs has guided policy since 2010. These are that austerity is expansionary; that the sky will fall in if ever the debt to GDP ratio exceeds 90%; and that the way to do austerity is to cut expenditure rather than raise taxes.
All of which is very convenient if what you really want to do is shrink the state.
We know how well the first two nostrums have performed when confronted with empirical evidence, so you might think that people would be just a wee bit cautious about stating the third as gospel truth. But no, here is Mario Draghi:
First, fiscal consolidation should be based on reductions in current expenditure rather than increases in taxes. Unfortunately, many of the fiscal consolidation measures were implemented in an emergency situation, with most governments choosing the simplest route, which was to raise taxes. And here we are talking about raising taxes in an area of the world where taxes are already very high, so it is no wonder that this had a contractionary effect.
Paul Krugman helpfully reminds us where this belief came from, and what happened next. The ECB is constantly telling us that it has a narrowly restricted mandate, with its primary concern being inflation. In that case, then surely the least that we are entitled to expect is that it keeps its views about the composition of fiscal adjustments to itself?
I have no doubt that Kenny and Noonan have good intentions but can you see these men throwing down the gauntlet to force radical change to IMF/ECB policy… no these guys will not rock the boat for the are bonded to their masters
We are a country blitzed by the imposition of austerity…no credit, mounting household debt, high unemployment, plummeting standards right across the broad spectrum of education/social services and finally the Government selling off the what remains of the family silver. Light at the end of the tunnel I don’t think so all I see is devastation and more ruin. Given the level of mounting Government debt at some stage we are going to reach the point of no return and what then. Do we have to wait until the bitter end to face face reality.
Cutting public sector jobs means higher unemployment and fewer people in work paying taxes
Freezing public sector pay and higher unemployment means less disposable income to be spent in the private sector, with a knock-on effect on private sector jobs
Cutting business taxes means less revenue to close the deficit and pay off our debt.
The government is presenting its plans as simply ‘dealing with the deficit’, but that is a smokescreen for another agenda. The government wants to cut and privatise public services because it believes in a market for even essential goods and services; that business should be free to extract profit from any public service, even schools, hospitals, welfare ETC.
The government’s policies are failing because the public sector is not the real problem.
Instead of solving the crisis, these policies are making it worse.
In Spain the unemployment rate is now 25%, while youth unemployment is over 50%.
We are the 99% – and as an end game harassing the 99% cannot not work.
Wages have disportionately . Inflation has been higher than the annual increase in pay. This fall in real wages means we are able to buy less with our money than before, as we have less disposable income.
. . . .
Redistribution: to the 1%
Why is this happening and where is the money going? At the same time that wages and other income has been squeezed for the majority of people, a few people at the top are doing better than ever A few at the top are getting very rich by cutting pay and pensions for the rest.
Freedom of information
The very fundamentals of democracy are build on freedom of information and yet on a worldwide basis it appears to be politicians want to squeeze the information been fed to its citizens. Why will the Irish/EU not release the full details of the bailout agreement to its people.
Cutbacks In in education will mean will mean we revert to being a nation of unskilled factory workers.
What next immigration to Bangladesh?
Education is one of the few remaining life lines open to the country
No sell off of public utilities
Everywhere this has happened it has been an unmitigated disaster
A banking system that works for people not profit
Some of the banks that were bailed out by the government are still using loopholes to advise their corporate and wealthy clients how to avoid paying tax.
They have also laid-off thousands of their own staff to maintain the greed at the top. It feels like we have nationalised the debts while the profits are privatised.
The banking collapse, which caused such economic damage , means the finance sector has lost the right to carry on as before. It must now act in the public interest; publicly owned and controlled.
The money, real money, that is held by the finance sector is ours anyway: our pension funds, our savings, and the cash in our current accounts. The rest of it is credit – electronic money (as over 90% now is) created out of thin air by the banks to lend. The banks are given the right to create credit by governments.
We therefore need the government to ensure that when banks create credit, or lend or invest with our savings or pension funds, they are doing so in our collective interest.
That means investing in infrastructure like new council housing not lending recklessly and creating a housing bubble (and inevitable crash). It means investing to create new jobs in renewable energy rather than speculating on food prices to profit from starvation. And it means investing in new businesses and ideas, not getting windfall dividends and bonuses for merging existing businesses and laying-off staff.
Essential public services are being cut back and privatised, and people’s living standards have been falling , both for those in work and even more so for those unemployed.
There are social consequences too, which have clear financial costs.
Research from previous recessions shows that the increased financial pressures push more people into depression and substance abuse, means couples are more likely to separate, and suicide rates increase.
Politics is about choices – and there is always a choice and always an alternative. Because there always is an alternative but yet we are continually fed the mantra there is no alternative to austerity.
There is an economic crisis – one of rising unemployment, inequality and economic stagnation. Austerity isn’t working, and is not producing the economic growth that the government promised it would. But it is not just growth that matters. If we value people’s lives as more important than simply making more transactions, then the relevant tests for judging an economic recovery are:
Is unemployment falling?
Are people’s living standards rising
Is inequality reducing
Is the tax gap closing?
These are the tests against which we should measure the government’s economic strategy and proposals.
Also the government we have appear to be incapable of showing any leadership whatsoever. They sheep like continue to follow the dictate of their masters…Ollie Rehn. “the eurozone has shown a degree of resilience and problem-solving capacity that many observers and policymakers would not have predicted even a year ago”…Commission chief Jose Barroso insisted that the policy(austerity) is “fundamentally right” and working in Ireland, a risible statement if ever.
We need a leadership that knows how to play rough and this was familiar territory for the IRA. The lesson learnt was once the financial heart of London was bombed peace was in the making.
If the politicians do not heed the wishes of the electorate what then, protest marches …if they still do not listen…civil disobedience… if they still remain deaf well the options narrow. Revolution,guns , violence bombes I hope not.
May common sense prevail